Women’s Reservation in legislature: BJD to garner support of 22 parties

Bhubaneswar: A day after CM Naveen Patnaik wrote a letter to PM Modi urging him to consider 33 per cent reservation for women in Parliament and State Assemblies, the ruling Biju Janta Dal on Wednesday announced to form a high-level delegation to garner support of 22 parties including seven national parties.

Such decision was taken at a meeting held at the official residence of Odisha Chief Minister, Naveen Patnaik in Bhubaneswar.

Sources said that a three-member delegation of BJD led by senior leaders-Soumya Ranjan Patnaik, Ananta Das and Arabinda Dhali would meet All India Trinamool Congress (AITC) while another delegation comprising Finance Minister Shashi Bhusan Behera, AU Singh Deo and Pratyusha Rajeswari Singh will hold talks with Bahujan Samaj Party leaders.

A team led by Tathagat Satapathy, Bed Prakash Agarwal, Pinaki Mishra and Prasanna Patasani will be engaged in talks with Indian National Congress (INC) for garnering support in favour of the motion for 33 per cent reservation for women in the Parliament and State Assemblies.

Apart from these, other BJD delegations will meet Communist Party of India Marxist CPI (M), Communist Party of India (CPI), Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and regional parties including Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), All India Anna Dravida Mnnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), Indian National Lok Dal (INLD), Janata Dal (Secular) JD (S), Janata Dal (United) JD (U) and National Conference (NC).

In a letter yesterday, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to initiate the move to ensure one-third reservation for women in Parliament and state legislatures.

“Empowerment of women is empowerment of the nation. No household, no society, no state, no country has ever moved forward without empowering its women. The principle of gender equality is enshrined in our Constitution. The country will move forward with much greater momentum only if the other half of our population, our mothers, sisters and daughters, have a role in the highest decision making bodies of our states and our country,” wrote Patnaik in his letter to PM.

Meanwhile, political parties criticised such move of ruling BJD. Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan stated that “BJD is now shedding crocodile tears. They were in Parliament and can they cite one example of bringing a private member bill in the Parliament.”

Congress MLA Prafula Maji said, “Definitely such a decision has been taken keeping in view the upcoming elections.”